While Getting Treatment for Depression, Fetterman Continues Senate Operations
WASHINGTON, D.C. - It’s been one month since Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman (D- PA) checked himself into a DC hospital to be treated for depression. Although he has not returned to the Senate, staffers said he can still get a lot of work done remotely.
Freshmen Senator John Fetterman’s Chief of Staff shared these photos of the two meeting ten days ago while the Senator receives treatment for depression in a DC hospital. The Tweet said, “Productive morning with Senator Fetterman at Walter Reed discussing the rail safety legislation, Farm Bill and other Senate business. John is well on his way to recovery and wanted me to say how grateful he is for all the well wishes. He’s laser focused on PA & will be back soon.”
Even though Fetterman isn’t physically here at the Capitol, Senate staffers told us that us Senators can still do a lot while they’re away. The staffers said Senators can introduce legislation, have constituent service operations running without disruption. A different staffer told us Fetterman is being briefed every day by staff who visit him at the hospital.
For example, during his time away from the Senate, Fetterman has introduced legislation, sent letters to cabinet secretaries, opened new office locations across the state and even launched a new portal for appropriations requests. The one thing he can’t do remotely is vote.
“Getting that majority is extremely important,” said Todd Belt, George Washington University, Director of Political Management.
Belt explains the Senate doesn’t have proxy voting and while it's not uncommon for Senators can be gone for some time due to illness, surgeries or other things, Belt said the president has had trouble with his controversial appointments in terms of getting to the 51-vote threshold. Belt says one Senator can make all the difference on votes.
“There are going to be some must-pass bills, the budget bills, and of course the debt ceiling and you’re gonna want everybody on board to do that,” said Belt.
A person close to the Senator confirmed that Fetterman is making progress in his recovery and could leave the hospital within the next two weeks.